Conservatism, Liberalism, and Christianity

Justin Taylor highlights some writings from J. Budziszewski (and if he’s going first-initial-only with that last name, one can only imagine how unpronounceable the first name is; there may be some hieroglyphics in there): Christian opinions on the problem with liberalism and the problem with conservatism.

He then goes on to provide an excellent summary of both arguments. In compare/contrast articles like these, the danger is that the author, while pretending neutrality, is going to actually believe that either liberalism or conservatism is “more Christian.” So his writing is going to end up genuinely attacking one side, while letting the other off the hook with minor, half-hearted criticism. For example, “While liberal compassion and tolerance may lead to a belief in the perfectibility of man, conservatives are selfish bastards.”

However, I think J. (pronounced “JAY-shzerwz-ski”) Budziszewski pretty much hits the nail on the head on both sides. In particular, he noted one moral error of conservatives that’s been on my mind a lot lately:

Civil Religionism: America is a chosen nation, and its projects are a proper focus of religious aspiration. Christianity: America is but one nation among many, no less loved by God, but no more.

God has one chosen nation, and it is Israel. And considering how history has treated the Jews, do we really want to compete for that title?

American conservatives do tend to fall into the trap of worshiping America as if it’s supposed to be a branch office of heaven. But we see more and more that America and its leaders feel no obligation to live up to that reputation.

We’re blessed to live in a country whose founders put a lot of stock in God and Biblical morality, but founding principles tend to get lost in the backwash of time. America is a tool that can be used by God in the same way that he can use any other country. But it’s not the source of our blessings. Conservatives, including yours truly, need to do a better job of remembering that.

Leave a Reply